2011 is at its end, and what better way to end the year than to talk about how this year has treated my favorite groups! I have a lot to go over, but I wanted to start with my favorite currently-releasing group, Momoiro Clover (Z). It’s been a very memorable year for them!
Momoclo has had a great year for releases, but also suffered a great loss, as well. The year started out poorly, member-wise, when former blue member Hayami Akari announced in January that she would be leaving the group in April with a heart-wrenching blog post, in which she talked of how she had decided to leave of her own accord, she felt she couldn’t sing, and didn’t fit in with the group. I seriously bawled, not only because my 3rd favorite member of the group was leaving, but also because she seemed so sad, and it was hard to hear about her feeling the way she did.
The other members of the group took her departure very hard as well, but none so much as Kanako, who was very close to her. Akari had a limited graduation single released, where she and Kanako did a very silly duet together, and the remaining girls in the group sang a tribute song to her, Akarin e Okoru Uta. Her graduation concert, which has been released to DVD, was extremely sad. I dare anyone to watch that and not cry (I did). Especially Kanako’s good bye to her.
Not the kind of group to be slowed down, they kept going, and changed their name to Momoiro Clover Z, to symbolize that they are not the same without Akari. They even referenced her in new songs (BLUE!… uh…), and kept her solo song when they released their full length album, Battle And Romance, even though the old singles had been re-recorded without her in them. Now, they are not-so-secretly working with her behind the scenes of the sitcom she stars in, Urero☆Mikakunin Shoujo, as the band UFI. Akari is gone from the group, but will not be forgotten.
Aside from the graduation, Momoclo had an absolutely fantastic year. We started the year with the wacky and fun Mirai Bowl, her last major single with the group. That was followed by the over-the-top Z Densetsu, as well as the cool and intense D’ no Junjou. Following those singles was their amazing debut album, Battle And Romance, which I absolutely loved. Almost all of the album tracks on Battle and Romance were very good, and even contained material that I would consider better than many of their flagship singles, such as Wani to Shampoo, and the studio recording of Orange Note. The only weak point about the album for me was the bonus disc of solo songs – Most of them were sub-par, with the definite exception of Akari’s, which was intense!
Momoclo followed their album with the single Roudou Sanka, which was quite good, although my favorite song from it ended up being C-side track Bionic Cherry. Then right before the end of the year, they snuck in another limited Christmas single, Shiroi Kaze, which covered a wide variety of styles, and went places that I’ve never seen an idol group go before. We got a pretty song, a silly song, a typical remix, and a rather twisted remix all in one release!
That pretty much wraps up the year. Some hopes I have for next year:
– No line-up changes, unless Akari somehow wanted back in. I love this group just the way it is.
– at least 4 singles – I would like for them to release more frequently
– another album would be great, maybe for fall 2012?
– more media exposure, because the more people have a chance to get to know these girls, the more fans they will have.
Momoclo already has another single in the works (and it sounds amazing so far, but that’s for another post). I guarantee I’ll be all over it, and their other releases next year! I hope 2012 has good things in store for them!